Insects and other foods the trout may be eating:
1. Blue-winged Olives
2 . Sculpin, baitfish and small crayfish (Imitate with streamers)
3. Little Brown Stoneflies
4. Quill Gordons
5. Blue Quills
6. Little Black Caddis
A Few Tips on Streamer Fishing
Since we have high water conditions at the current time, I may as well drop some
very basic tips on fishing streamers. Personally, I don't like fishing streamers all
that much in small freestone streams, especially when the water is too strong to
wade. However, in many cases, streamers are about your only option. If the water is
fairly clear you can use nymphs, of course, but not when it is stained or where the
trout have only a foot or two of visibility. By the way, I'm not suggesting that's the
case right now. The streams in the Smokies clear very fast until they exit the park
and pick up runoff from parking lots, more roads, etc. I am only pointing out that
streamers are good in stained water. Keep in mind I also didn't say they were not
good in clear water; however, as a general rule, they aren't good in clear water with
bright light conditions. They work far better under low light conditions if the water is
clear. By low light conditions, I mean early or late in the day, or during overcast,
One tip to remember, is that a drag free drift isn't necessary although it may be just
fine if the drift is drag free This doesn't mean you should cast downstream in current
and retrieve the streamer back upstream. This isn't a natural presentation to imitate
most species of anything unless it is done in short spurts. The current also tends to
make the fly surface when retrieved upstream. Baitfish and crayfish try to escape
from being eaten by fish, so some action can be natural. If I wasn't trying to use the
KISS (keep it simple stupid) approach, I could write a few pages just about this one
phase of fishing streamers which is much like fishing lures on conventional tackle in
The best presentations are up and across , directly across or down and across,
depending on the stream conditions. Yes, that's just about every way except straight
up stream and there could be situations where that may be best. It depends on the
current as well as several other things. Just about each and every different current
situation has to be taken into account. For example, if you are fishing the end of a
run or riffle where the water runs into a pool, you would most likely use a down and
across presentation that allowed the fly to enter the head of the pool. If you were
fishing a deep run, you would probably need an up and across presentation so that
you have plenty of time to get the fly down. You may also want some added weight
but the up and across presentation would let you make some mends to get the fly
down. Trying to get the streamer to drift along an undercut bank would be a
completely different situation that would require another type of presentation.
Yesterday, I wrote about a specific technique used for fishing high water from the
banks that's only good when there's low visibility conditions. If you tried it in clear
water, the trout would see you and that would be the end of the story.
In each case, I try to visualize where the trout would be holding and then use the
best way I can come up with to get the fly in that area of water at the right depth.
This also depends on what you are trying to imitate. Generally, in the streams of the
Smokies, this would be a baitfish or sculpin, or a crayfish. Many think of crayfish as
smallmouth bass food and that's correct but trout also eat them. If you were imitating
a sculpin you would want the fly on the bottom as much as possible. A small baitfish,
such as a black-nose dace, for example, may be in shallow water or at any depth.
Everyone wants to make a big deal out of color and it can be important; however,
other things are usually more important or at least, first in importance. I use a very
simple theory when deciding the color, or shade of color I should say, for a streamer
or a fishing lure.. I could write book about the subject but it gets down to this. If you
are imitating any live creature fish eat with an artificial fly, lure or whatever, there's
two basic mistakes you can make. You can let the fish see the artificial fly or
lure too well, or you can use something they have little chance of even
noticing. If they can't see your fly, they won't be eating it. If they can see the fly well
enough that their instincts tell them it isn't something to eat, they won't eat it. They
don't eat many sticks drifting downstream but they do eat baitfish. Your fly must look
and act like the naturals to a certain extent, or you could just use sticks with hooks.
Trout have the means of knowing the difference and rejecting things as you all
should well know. The trick is to let them see it just well enough to fool them.
You have to take three basic things into consideration. They are the clarity of the
water, the speed of the fly (which in most cases is the same as the speed of the
water) and the light conditions. I usually just toss the fly into the water near my
feet or very close by where I can see it, move it around with my rod tip and try to
make that determination.
You can't change the clarity of the water. You may possible change the speed of
the presentation in some cases, but that's not the usually situation. The faster the
water, the shorter time the trout have to closely examine the fly. The only thing you
really have a lot of control over is you can change the shade of color of the fly.
It's the contrast that either counts or becomes a problem in the "see it too
well" or "can't see it" scenarios I'm using. If there's good light and clear water, the
color should be as close as possible to the color of the natural you are trying to
imitate. If the water is stained, and lighting conditions aren't good, then you have to
consider what the fly looks like under those conditions. For example, a fly that has a
bright, chartreuse colored material that contrast with very dark or black material,
can look like a small bluegill minnow in stained water under low light conditions.
Also, and again I could go into great detail, but fish (and man) see colors differently
at different depths. Reds and oranges are the first colors in the spectrum to loose
their color when submerged in water at deeper depths, or lower light conditions.
Even at five feet, in many cases, what is red in bright daylight conditions can appear
brown underwater, so it isn't always that the bright colors are what they appear to
be to the fish.
I've done a lot of rambling but I hope I got a few points across.
Down and Dirty (some are clean) Tips and Recommendations for Fly
Fishing Destinations - Part 34
Just keep in mind that it is strictly one opinion that happens to be mine. The intent is to hopefully
give those interested a general idea of what to expect. Most likely every guide, affiliated business
entity and local angler will have a different opinion. These streams also have full coverage on our
Perfect Fly Stream Section.
2011 James Marsh